Tony Trimmer

Full Name:
Anthony Hugh Leigh Trimmer
Born:
24th January 1943 (Age 76)
Maidenhead, Berkshire
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

When Tony Trimmer won the 1970 Monaco Formula 3 race it was seen as a prelude to a Grand Prix future. However, whenever F1 opportunities materialised they were in uncompetitive machinery and he failed to qualify on six attempts.

Background and early racing career

A former merchant seaman and then mechanic for Frank Williams, Trimmer was a star of Formula Ford in 1968 and 1969. He made his racing debut that first year with a rebuilt Brabham and finished as runner-up in the European series with a Williams-entered Titan a year later.

He also made his F3 debut in 1969 and won at Monaco with a Brabham BT28-Ford a year later having withstood great pressure from Jean-Pierre Cassegrain throughout the final. A professional, hardworking attitude marked those formative years and victory at the Brands Hatch finale secured the 1970 Motor Sport/Shell F3 Championship when racing for Race Cars International.

Formula 1 disappointment

Trimmer signed as reserve driver for Lotus in 1971 and his future seemed assured. But two disappointing non-championship Formula 1 races early that year saw the deal turn sour. He also raced a Williams-run March 701 in the Oulton Park Gold Cup but ended a disappointing year driving an elderly Surtees TS5A in Formula 5000.

With reluctance, Trimmer returned to F3 in 1972 to lead the John Player Special Lotus team but he was frustrated by the radical Lotus 73. He did win at Mallory Park and drove through the field to finish second at Monaco. The highlight of further non-championship F1 drives was his fourth-place for Williams in the 1973 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch.

But his next world championship opportunity proved to be an impossible task. He replaced Hiroshi Fushida in the hopeless Maki F101C-Ford for three events from the 1975 German GP but failed to qualify then and again in the 1976 Japanese GP.

British Formula 1 Champion

He rebuilt his reputation in the new British F1 Championship – winning the title in 1977 and 1978 with a Melchester Racing Surtees TS19 and McLaren M23 respectively. He entered the British GP both years but was (as ever) unable to qualify. Trimmer’s top-line opportunities were now behind him.

He retired from the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1979 and 1981 and continued in national events when the mood took him. He scored a final British F1 win in 1982 – his Fittipaldi F8-Ford beating meagre opposition at Oulton Park but it was a far cry from the promise displayed 12 years earlier.

A quiet and thoughtful man, Tony Trimmer perhaps lacked the raw aggression required to harness his undoubted natural talent.